Not remember what I said or who I spoke with

by Jan
(Louisville, KY, USA)

Several times throughout the day I often forget what I said and to whom or even what I did. It could be someone telling me they're stepping out of the office for a moment and then another person will ask if I saw so-and-so and I will swear I did not see or speak to the person.

Also, I'll do something and not ever remember it. I'm constantly misplacing things - every day. I also lose track of time - sometimes I'll have no concept of time at all. Also, I can read something and then not be able to tell you what I read.

All of this is very frustrating because I'm a pretty smart cookie. I also am being treated for ADD. Any suggestions?

Doug's Reply: If a study could be done, I suspect we would find among the population a complete spectrum of mental capabilities. You seem to be on the high end intellectually but with more challenges than most in some aspects of memory.

While this could be the result of an environmental issue such as a vitamin deficiency, my guess is that it's simply the way your brain is wired. I don't think that means there is something *wrong* with you.

You are the way God or Nature made you; it's just where you fall on the spectrum of all possible mental combinations. I have found peace in that thought; perhaps you will, eventually.

To the more practical concern: can anything be done? Certainly there are things you can try.

I'm not surprised you are being treated for ADD. Assimilation of information is a first step in the memory process, and it requires attention. You cannot remember what makes no impression.

Beyond the ADD meds and therapy, consider these suggestions:

1) Mindfulness/Awareness Meditation. It has been proven that concentration, attention, and focus can be enhanced through daily meditation. Establish a daily habit of awareness meditation to improve your ability to absorb experiences.

The simplest form is achieved by focusing on breathing. It is quite easy to do. Click the Meditation link at left for more information.

2) Scientific Brain Training. I highly recommend you join and use Lumosity, the online brain training service I use.

Lumosity provides scientifically designed brain games that you play in your browser. They even have an ADHD brain games course (included). The service costs about $7 per month. Click the ADD / ADHD link at left for more info.

Spend at least ten minutes in the morning and ten minutes at night interacting with these games.

3) Sufficient Restful Sleep. If you suffer from insomnia or other sleep problem, take steps to resolve it. Concentration and memory during the day can be severely affected by chronic sleep deprivation.

4) Cardio/Aerobic Exercise. Research has shown, surprisingly, that *intense* cardio exercise stimulates the growth of *new* neurons in the memory centers of the brain, including the hippocampus. Consider adding a daily 20-minute
session of aerobic exercise to your regimen. See the Aerobic Exercise link at left for more info.

5) Memory Aids. Take practical steps to address problems with time and misplaced objects. For example, set your watch to beep once hourly to alert you to the passage of time.

Always place keys and commonly used objects in the same spot. Use a day planner. Make a journal entry every day. See the Forgetfulness and Keeping a Journal links at left for more tips.

6) Study Skills / Memory Techniques. To remember what you read, use the study skills followed by good students. Use the Memory Systems for remembering facts. See the Study Skills and Memory Systems links at left.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

Best regards,

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